Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This Pregnancy Thing is Overrated

If you know people who have been pregnant, you probably know someone who loved being knocked up. My good friend from college--I visited her and her beautiful five-month-old baby this past weekend--is one of those people. I totally buy it. Some people just really enjoy being pregnant... though I haven’t exactly figured out why. I even googled “I love being pregnant,” (true story), but I got bored after scanning the fourth link and decided I didn’t care.

There are definitely some perks to being pregnant. For example, I may never wear non-maternity clothes again (elastic waistband-ed jeans, where have you been all my life? Amirite, ladies?). I tend to be someone who enjoys talking about herself (see: this blog), so it’s nice that people are always asking me about me. And, I’ll admit it’s kind of cool (if not sometimes inconvenient) that my body is changing constantly to support the whole miracle of life thing that’s happening.

But overall, I’ve found pregnancy to be not all that great. Sure, I’ve had some annoying symptoms, but certainly no worse than what other women experience, and I imagine that by most accounts, I’m probably having a pretty easy pregnancy (post-first trimester). Mostly, I don’t like pregnancy because I have little desire to do anything that requires energy expenditure. Yes, I’ve been “active” during my pregnancy insofar as I have continued to workout. But take that out of the equation and you’ll realize that outside of work, the majority of my time is taken up with the following activities: sitting on the couch contemplating when I should go to bed, laying in bed trying to read one last blog post before I pass out, sleeping, and laying in bed wondering how much time I need to give myself to get ready for work.

I am exhausted. Constantly. Take tonight for instance. I left work early to meet MM and look at a daycare. At 5pm, the friendly director of the daycare took us on a tour of the facility explaining the curriculum and whatnot. I nodded and tried my hardest to look engaged. She asked if we had any other questions. I am about to be the mother of a newborn baby who I will be leaving with complete strangers for eight to ten hours at a time. Do I have questions?!? Of course I have questions! I just can’t remember what they are. She looked a little stunned when I responded with an apathetic, “Hmmm... No... I don’t think [stifled yawn] so.” When we got in the car, I yawned so frequently and violently (violent yawning is a thing) that being awake and forced to sit upright were nearly painful. By the time we got home, around six, I dropped my stuff on the floor, walked up stairs, took off my shoes, and got into bed, work clothes and all. I was out for two hours. When I woke up, sometime after eight, I struggled to convince myself that eating a bowl of cheerios was worth getting out of bed for.


But it’s not even just that I’m tired. I’m also completely incapable of giving a shit about doing anything other than spending time by myself in my comfy bed. I don’t have any interest in cooking dinner (I barely have an interest in eating dinner) or completing other life tasks; I don’t have any interest in going out for any reason; and I am not at all compelled to socialize (no offense friends, I still love you all, I just don’t have enough brain power to hold a conversation these days).

Under “normal” circumstances, isolating and ultra-lazy behavior like this would mean I’m depressed, but I guess that’s the glass-half-full part of this pregnancy thing: I am not in the least depressed about my avoidance of human contact. I am perfectly happy to spend my days horizontal and, yes sadly, alone. My poor husband spends a lot of time asking if I’m “still in bed” and “going to sleep already.” The answers to both those questions are “Yes.”

I look forward to giving a shit, hopefully, again once I’m a non-pregnant. Of course then, luxuries like sleep and laying in bed all day because I feel like it will be long gone. Huh. Maybe that’s why people love pregnancy.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The ‘Moon

Ah, the babymoon, the last vacation a couple takes before baby makes three. Do we hate this word and/or concept yet? No? OK, good.

My husband and I haven’t been on a just-the-two-of-us and for-no-other-reason-than-to-relax (read: not for someone’s wedding) vacation since our honeymoon, which was in August 2009. So we decided (I decided?) that we’re doing this babymoon thing.

We talked about a cruise initially, but I tend to be biased against cruises as being in international waters seems to invite tragedy, and I don’t want to end up on the Today Show discussing the HORRIBLE THING that happened on the cruise ship. Worse, I don’t want to be the person who is victim of that HORRIBLE THING. So, no cruise, not this time.

We talked about going out of the country, but cost-wise and pregnant-wise that seemed daunting. I don’t want to deal with overnight flights, language barriers, or unfamiliar food. So in the U.S., we shall stay.

Narrowing it down to the 48 continental states is actually a good thing. Rarely do we vacation based on no other reason than, “Here’s a place we’d like to go.” We're usually traveling for family, for friends, for weddings, for races. Not just because we'd like to check a place out.

I, the official vacation planner, started looking at cities. My criteria: 1) It must be accessible via Southwest Airlines so we can use our miles and not actually pay for the flight; 2) It must be warm; 3) There must be a pool and/or beach; 4) The food options must be epic.

Yes, epic. Have you met my husband? He likes to eat.

After lots of time on TripAdvisor, I came up with three choices:
  1. San Diego, CA
  2. Austin, TX
  3. Charleston, SC
Austin was the early favorite and remained so throughout my research. Plus, I had the benefit of having not one, but two, Texas friends to provide me with endless restaurant recommendations, including MM’s request, “Where can I get the best hamburger in Austin?” Apparently it's this place.

So it’s official, we’re trying to finalize the dates, but we’ll be spending our Babymoon in Austin. Since I am lazy and don’t believe that a vacation should involve a lot of schlepping around, pregnant or not (Seriously, do not expect me to run from museums to monuments to historical whatevers, I don’t care if I’m in EUROPE.), we’ll be splitting our time between staying in Austin, near the action, and staying at a spa about 30 minutes outside of the city. And we’ll be eating--based on the list of restaurants recommendations I’ve received--a lot.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

16 Weeks and Counting

Pregnancy is a lot of waiting... waiting for your next doctor’s appointment. Waiting to feel the baby move. Waiting to show so people realize you’re pregnant and give you a seat on the bus. Waiting to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl.

So far, none of the above has happened to me, though it’s clear my stomach is getting bigger when I wear fitted clothing like my Lululemon Swiftly Tech Shirt (I hate to be “that guy who buys really expensive workout clothes,” but this shirt is totally worth the price, even though as a fitness instructor, I got it at a discount). I should really take some “bump” shots. I know, we hate the word bump. Whatever.

16 Week Appointment
This morning MM and I had our 16 week appointment, which was quick and dirty. We listened to the baby’s heartbeat (it was between 163 and 164), which is normal and healthy, and I had blood drawn for the second trimester screening. The results of the second trimester screening will be combined with the results of our first trimester screening, which were all very normal and gave no indication that we should be concerned about anything. Hopefully that will be the case again.

Looking Ahead
Hearing the baby’s heartbeat is really cool, partially because it’s nice to have proof that the baby is still in there since the signs of pregnancy are pretty minimal right now (for example, I’m not puking or desperately craving Arby’s roast beef sandwiches). However, it doesn’t compare to seeing the baby on the ultrasound. The next appointment, in four weeks, is a BIG one. At 20 weeks (the halfway mark of pregnancy), we should be able to find out if our little one is a girl or boy.

Any guesses? My mom is convinced it’s a boy because she’s certain that our very female-centric family will be turned upside down by the presence of a little boy. My mom also thinks she’s psychic, so there’s that.

Other Thoughts
Like I said, other than pretty much being able to (and sometimes needing to) sleep constantly, I’ve felt pretty good, which means I need to use this time to really get shit in order for when the baby comes. I’m trying to come up with household tasks that make sense to tackle now (stuff like cleaning out closets, obtaining certain pieces of furniture, getting rid of others), but I often end up over-scheduling our weekends and needing any downtime to sleep so I can function in social situations. That’s going to have to change!

One major item that needs to be checked off has begun: We have started our daycare search. At this point--and there’s probably no way this is changing--I am going back to work full time after my maternity leave. We have looked at two daycares and have two more to look at, but we’ve seen one that I’d be pretty comfortable leaving our baby at (as comfortable as I imagine I’ll be dropping a 12-week-old baby off with strangers day after day), but I might write a longer post about all that.

There’s much more to do, but right now I’m just glad the baby is doing well, and I’m feeling pretty decent.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Baby Dreams and Other Nightmares

I started dreaming about our baby early on. It doesn’t happen often, but the first two dreams I had were basically about how MM and I would fail at parenting. Regardless of our real or imagined shortcomings as new parents, I kind of love having these dreams because I feel like, for brief moments, I’m “meeting” our little one. Of course, in addition to getting acquainted with baby, I’m also neglecting the baby, putting the baby in unsafe situations, forgetting that we have a baby, etc.

For ease of writing, I’ll admit that the baby in these dreams is always a girl (though I might have had a dream where an older boy was our kid). I think that is less because I am having a girl and more because I can only wrap my head around having a girl (which is why I’m pretty much convinced I’m having a boy). But for the sake of this “baby character” in the dreams, I’ll be using female pronouns.

In the first dream I had, we brought the baby home from the hospital, only to completely forget that she was there. I put her in a crib and went about my business forgetting to feed her, sooth her or otherwise change my routine to care for an infant. Every so often I’d be reminded by some divine dream force, that ‘oh right, I have a baby now,’ which lead to me continuing to ignore her. I’m not sure this scenario isn't possible in real life, but it didn’t exactly make me feel awesome.

The second dream was more detailed. MM and I decided to take our brand new baby to a big box store only to realize that we forgot to bring all of the ‘stuff’ you’re supposed to bring when you haul a baby out of the house. Things like (for instance) the diaper bag. When our baby ineviatably needed to be changed, MM and I headed into the store’s public restroom to manage the situation. Only we had no diapers. With the baby on the changing table, MM, always one to innovate, decided to try diapering her with a bib, which lead to me yelling at him about how you can’t diaper a baby with a bib (duh). Looking frantically around the bathroom for other sources of diaper-material (I mean, we were in a big box store... Target? Wal-Mart? We could have bought diapers), we left the baby alone on the changing table only for her to... you guessed it... roll off the table and on to the gross public restroom floor (and let’s be real, those Wal-Mart/Target bathrooms are always the worst).

Clearly, I have some doubts about our parenting abilities. Neither MM nor I has had significant experience caring for children of any age. Neither MM nor I has ever changed a diaper (unless you count MM’s attempt to diaper with a bib in the dream... I don’t). I have no doubt that we’ll manage. We’ve got to be as capable of any one of those 16 year olds on that MTV show. If they can do it, we can do it. And of course, we’ll take “how not to kill your newborn baby” classes, so we at least learn basic infant-care skills. We’ll be fine.


The good news is after several weeks of baby-free dreams, she showed up again lat night. And this time, we were mostly taking pictures of her and showing her off to friends and family. We weren’t really doing anything that proves we are ready for this whole parenting thing, but there was no neglecting, no forgetting we had a baby, no half-assed diapering solutions, no dropping her on the floor of a public restroom.

So baby steps, I guess.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Workout Review: The Perfect Pregnancy Workout DVD

Even though I consider myself to be lazy, I’ve somehow managed to consistently workout since I started running (and started this blog) in 2006. Sure, motivation comes and goes, but for the most part, working out is part of my routine.

With pregnancy, working out is as important, if not more important, to stay healthy, strong and feeling as good as possible for as long as possible. Training for a long distance race right now isn’t in the cards, so I’m taking this opportunity to mix it up. I easily get two or three good cardio workouts in a week, as well as a prenatal yoga class, but my downfall, as it has always been, is strength training, which is why I invested in (and had the opportunity to borrow) a few prenatal workout DVDs. After they sat on my nightstand collecting dust for two weeks, I decided it was time to give one a try.

The Perfect Pregnancy Workout gets excellent reviews on Amazon, including several that contend that this DVD is appropriate for the intermediate and advanced exerciser--it's not some wimpy prenatal workout. The workout is 43 minutes with a five-minute warm-up, a 33-minute workout, and a 5-minute cool down. It is primarily a sculpting workout, with a decent amount of stretching, but no cardio. For this workout, I used a set of two-pound dumbbells, a set of five-pound dumbbells, a chair, and two big pillows from my couch. If you don’t have a carpet or rug to workout on, you’ll need a mat, and if you’re an intermediate or advanced exerciser, you can use a step (I didn’t have one handy), but you don’t need it.

Karyne Steben, a former Cirque du Soleil acrobat, is the instructor and narrator, and (according to the Amazon description), is “sporting a bikini to show off her third-trimester belly.”

I call that shorts and a sports bra, but whatever. Her narration is a little on slow and soothing side and combined with the meditate-y yoga studio music, it doesn’t really make you feel ready for an energizing workout. However, the plus side is that she’s totally not annoying like some other workout DVD instructors.

The warm-up
The warm up felt like a cool down to me. Some of the reviews call the workout “yoga based,” and it definitely has a yoga feel to it at the beginning. She also does some static stretches before anything else, which is a debatable practice in the fitness community. I don’t think this is too detrimental, but you have to be careful not to over stretch if you’re not warmed up.

The workout
Here’s what I liked: Beginning, intermediate and advanced modifications are provided, and I used all three. Despite the narration and background music, I thought the workout had a pretty good pace to it. I didn’t get bored, though I did get tired a few times. My legs, which are significantly stronger than my arms, were definitely feeling the lunging, squats, and leg lift series. There was also an abs section (which used to pillows so your heart stayed elevated while laying on your back), which I thought was appropriately challenging. And finally, the instructor did several sets of those all-important kegels. I don’t know about you, but from what I’m told, I should be doing kegels all the time, and I forget to do them.. oh just about... all the time. As weird as it might be to watch a DVD that’s telling me to squeeze my lady business, it’s helpful to have the reminder.

Here’s what I thought could be improved upon: There wasn’t a lot of time to set up for a new set of moves. She moves quickly from one exercise to another without any breaks or time to get the equipment you need. I felt that the arm work with dumbbells was lacking slightly. She did maybe three exercises with dumbbells (mostly shoulder work), as well as pushups and triceps dips, and arm circles for several minutes, which was incredibly difficult (seriously, the last move during the workout portion is arm circles, and it felt like they were never going to end). However, I thought the arm work could have been rounded out a little. 

The cool down
The cool-down was pretty standard, and felt a lot like the warm-up. It did seem to end rather abruptly with the instructor saying to lay back on the pillows. I was all, “Yes, nap time,” but then I was confused that it was over.

Overall, I thought it was a solid sculpting workout and, with my limited prenatal fitness knowledge, seemed safe and effective. I did not break a sweat, but I probably would have if I had used a step and taken a few less breaks.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Kids Usually Don't Bite (and Other Lessons Learned While Teaching Zumbatomic)

Well, that was only mildly terrifying. As I mentioned, yesterday was my first Zumbatomic (Zumba for kids) class. The good news: I lived to tell you about it, and I can honestly say it wasn't a complete disaster.

Despite feeling like I wasn't prepared, I went in with a simple strategy: Fake it 'til I make it. I think it worked.

I had nine kids in the class: a four year old, several six and seven year olds, and two nine year olds; and all girls except for one boy (who seemed to love the class). Knowing I had mostly girls, I was expecting a tamer group, ready and willing and attentive. I was wrong. Most of the girls knew each other, which made for a more enthusiastic and energetic dynamic, and a lot of questions and talking that I wasn't expecting. So... pros and cons to that unexpected twist.

Eventually, after decorating nametags and getting everyone into lines, we got started. I did a simple warmup and then a short lesson on cumbia, a style of dance from Colombia, teaching them three basic cumbia moves. Then, on to the first song.

Unlike regular Zumba, where participants follow you as you dance, you're supposed to teach Zumbatomic by breaking down the songs and practicing. I stuck to a maximum of three breakdowns, worried that anything more and I'd lose their attention. It went something like this: break down two to three moves, practice with the music, breakdown next two or three moves, practice with the music, break down last moves, preform the song in its entirety.

While I didn't quite lose them during the breakdowns, I did sense some restlessness by the third time we stopped. From now on, I'm going to stick with two breakdowns. Finally, we got through the song, and--curve ball--all of the students were exhausted and wanted a break.

Because kids are kids and apparently, you can lose their interest pretty fast, the Zumbatomic format includes games. Thinking fast before anyone else asked to sit down and take a break (seriously?), I said "How about we play a game?" Now that was a popular suggestion. On the fly, I went with "Duck, Duck Zumba," where the would-be goose had to do a dance move instead of chase the student. It worked well enough. Before I knew it, there was time for participation prizes (big hit!) and a quick cool down/stretch.

Here were my keys to a non-disastrous Zumbatomic class: First, I had a fairly detailed lesson plan, which I used about half of before I went totally off script. I hadn't really considered that I might need to veer off course, but when I needed to, I threw my best laid plans out the window. Like most things being prepared PLUS being flexible were key to keeping all of the kids at least partially engaged and happy. Second, I showed no fear. Even though I have absolutely no idea how to talk to kids or handle kids or teach kids anything at all, I acted like I did (mostly so the parents wouldn't be all "WTF?"). I think I played the part pretty well.

My biggest issue ended up being the two nine year olds who signed up late. After I had planned for a class of primarily six and seven year olds, I was sent an updated roster a day before the class with the new additions. At that point, though I was pretty sure my material skewed young for them, it was too late to come up a new plan. Sure enough, the nine year olds approached me after class, asking for me to play LMFAO and Rhianna in the next class.

Um... sure not. 

I don't know about you, but I can't think of a Rhianna song that isn't about sex, and LMFAO's Party Rock would be OK, if there wasn't that part about them throwing money at strippers. I'm not scandalized by the fact that these kids listen to this music or anything, but with a row of parents sitting in the room while I teach mainly early elementary school kids a few fun dances, there is no way I'm going to use anything that could be deemed even mildly inappropriate. Sorry kids.

So my game plan for next class is to teach a reggaeton routine, which will (hopefully) satisfy all age groups and throw some Justin Bieber in during the games to keep everyone happy.

Isn't that Justin boy the one the kids all listen to today?

Saturday, February 04, 2012

File Under: Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

After teaching Zumba for about six months at a local non-profit fitness organization (that narrows it down a bit, yes?), I was offered another position with a nearby parks and recreation department. The new gig paid about three times as much and, maybe more importantly, seemed to be staffed by people who were… how do you say… sane.

So far, it’s been a good move. It’s a better fit for me, even though I’ll be handing my classes off to another instructor in about four months so I can focus on this baby thing that’s happening. However, in the fall, when I was new and eager to get started (and not yet pregnant), they asked me if I was licensed to teach Zumbatomic, aka Zumba for kids.

As it turns out, I am licensed to teach Zumbatomic. I decided to get licensed last summer because it seemed like an area that will take off given all the interest surrounding fitness and kids these days. But, like when I got my Zumba license, I didn’t exactly try to start teaching it immediately. Regardless, when the parks and rec department straight up asked me to do a winter Zumbatomic session, I enthusiastically responded, “Sure!”

It was November, and “winter” seemed like an abstract concept that may or may not actually happen someday in the vague, undefined future. (Yes, I know I’ve lived in the Midwest my whole live and “winter” should never be an abstract concept.) Not to mention that in theory (not in reality where I had to actually put a class together, practice, and then teach *gulp* children), I did want to try teaching Zumbatomic.

Right now, keeping my shit together for my regular Zumba classes is challenge enough, and part of me hoped that there wouldn’t be any interest and that the Zumbatomic class would be canceled. That was not the case. Nine (nine!) kids signed up.

Let’s be clear about one thing: I have no experience teaching kids anything. I have no experience dealing with kids in any capacity. (“But Lou, didn’t you babysit?” Technically yes. Approximately three to five times in my pre-teen life. So, for all intensive purposes, not really.) My mom, a retired elementary school teacher, thinks this will be great experience for me as it relates to that whole becoming a parent mess I’ve gotten myself into. Great experience for what? For when I give birth to a seven year old in six months?

The class is in two hours. Am I terrified? Not yet. My level of exhaustion this week has been pretty high, so mostly I’ve been sleeping vs. worrying about my total lack of preparation. (OK. So it’s not a “total” lack: I have a lesson plan, which gives me a fairly clear idea of how I’m going to fill 45 minutes. I practiced on my husband, who got a kick out of "acting" like a child. And if all else fails, I have a bucket full of prizes to help coax the kids into participating. And, if that fails, it’s going to be a loooooong 45 minutes.)

The good news is that I only agreed to teach this class for three weeks, to get an idea of what kind of interest there is and how the kids react to the class. After that, I only have to worry about my adult classes. Fingers crossed that I make it through in one piece.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Adventures in Prenatal Yoga

One of my very good friends is about 12 weeks more pregnant than I am.

During the holidays, she and I decided to try a prenatal yoga class at Yoga Trek in Oak Park. At this point, my friend was well into her second trimester, and I was merely eight weeks pregnant. Despite feeling like I wasn’t "pregnant enough" to be taking the class, I wanted to try it and having a legit pregnant woman as my wingman made me feel like I had a reason to be there. I should have sported an “I’m with Preggy” t-shirt for the occasion. I’m sure my friend would have loved that. Do they even make those?

(For the record, I have never said ‘preggy’ out loud, or written it before now. I promise never to do that again.)

I was, without question, the least pregnant person at the class. I was so hardly pregnant compared to all the clearly-about-to-give-birth women that I asked the instructor if it was appropriate for me to even be there. Her answer was yes, but most women at my stage of pregnancy don't feel well enough to be working out, which is why it was unlikely that I’d see a lot of other ladies in their first trimester.

Did I feel well enough to take the class? Not really. But during my first trimester, I (somehow) managed to maintain my workouts between long sessions of couch moaning and full on puking my guts out. Sure, downward dog might cause some acid reflux, but what the hell, right? So I sat down on my mat and wondered of my bloated-ness might pass for being slightly more than hardly pregnant.

I’ve taken yoga on and off over the years, with varying degrees of success and enjoyment. Before I got pregnant, the yoga I enjoyed most was the kind where they crank up the temperature to 100+ degrees. Unfortunately, Bikram and other hot-type classes are not recommended for pregnant ladies because raising your core temperature can be detrimental for the baby.

I didn’t know what to expect from prenatal yoga, but I was pleasantly surprised this wasn't a too gentle, don't-break-the-moms-to-be class. I felt comfortable that I wouldn’t be asked to do anything unsafe, and yet I was challenged; I got to do several of my favorite poses, only slightly modified; and I definitely got a workout—in addition to all the great peace and clarity, yoga-y stuff. The instructor, also pregnant, provided lots of options for modifications based on your stage of pregnancy, which was helpful.

But even better than a workout, I experienced two unexpected benefits of deciding to attend prenatal yoga early in pregnancy. First of all, I spent much of my first trimester surviving. When you are focused on surviving--or at rather, when I was focused on surviving, the fact that I was growing a tiny person inside me was kind of an afterthought that, even when said out loud or considered, didn’t mean much. The quiet parts of prenatal yoga allowed me to focus on and become a little more connected with the baby.

The other (awesome) benefit was that prenatal yoga made feel better. First of all, I think one of the reasons I kept exercising during the first trimester is because while I was running or ellipticizing or lifting weights or practicing yoga, I felt almost normal. But for some reason, yoga had a lingering effect that the other forms of exercising did not. For a whole half day, then a day, then eventually two, after yoga, I felt less like a piece of crap and more like someone who could function semi-normally and without small bits of her last meal coming up every so often. I don't know if this seemingly temporary relief from morning sickness is a common benefit of yoga, but if it is, they should starts shouting it from the rooftops.

Unlike the city neighborhood I lived in, which is lousy with awesome yoga studios offering tons of prenatal classes, maternity boutiques, and other mom-to-be resources, finding this in the suburbs was a little more difficult. I’ve continued to attend this class and plan to for the long haul. Every week I feel like I talk to another new mom-to-be and learn something new about the journey I’m on. Plus this studio offers post-natal yoga and you can bring your newborn with you, as well as other events and workshops for new moms and moms-to-be. Oh, I’m finally not the least pregnant person in the class.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

First Trimester Recap

So now that the cat is out of the bag, and family and friends (as well as my boss and coworkers) know the BIG news, I can recap the first 12 weeks of this adventure with you.

MM and I found out we were expecting two days after Thanksgiving when we were in Ohio. After taking four pregnancy tests (yes, four)—and carefully studying each one with MM—we concluded that, no, our eyes were not tricking us, and yes, that was definitely the second pink line you hope (at this age/stage, maybe not at other ages/stages, amiright?!) to see on the test.

We somehow kept it quiet from my mom for another day before heading back to Chicagoland. We decided to do this because we knew our family would be coming for Christmas, and if we could wait it out, we could tell my mom and her husband, my sister and her husband, as well as MM’s mom, all at the same time for maximum baby news excitement.

For five long weeks, I managed to act “totally normal” on the phone and when making holiday arrangements even though the whole feeling-like-shit-all-the-time side effect of pregnancy was setting in big time.

For the record, the holidays are both an exciting time to find out you’re pregnant and a shitty time to be in the beginning stages of a pregnancy. I started to felt like crap on a stick around December 3, and it got progressively worse until after the New Year, magically disappearing on January 11 for good. I got tired eventually, but the crushing fatigue people talk about didn’t hit me until later. I, on the other hand, got a solid dose of morning sickness, which (stop me if you’ve heard this one) was really all-the-damn-time-sickness.

There was some puking. There was dry heaving (almost worse than actual puking). There was general queasiness. There was the unfamiliar (for me) feeling that I didn’t want to and/or couldn’t eat anything at all.

And when I did eat, I typically chose from the following four food groups:
  1. White food (saltines, white bread, bagels, etc.)
  2. French fries (also a white food, but I give them their own category)
  3. Arby’s Roast Beef Sandwiches
  4. Wendy’s Frosties
Those are food groups right?

I could barely stand to look at vegetable (unless that vegetable was in the form of a fried potato). And my regular cooking repertoire? Out the window. I have never not wanted to eat in my entire life, so this was an entirely new experience. And all of the holiday parties with fun appetizers and fancy desserts? On most occasions, I didn’t even sample the goods.

Though my diet went downhill dramatically during the first trimester, common sense and most “experts” will tell you that it’s better to eat from the above four food groups than not at all and, considering how I felt, my choice was: Junior Roast Beef Sandwich or nada. Sometimes I chose nada.

Christmas was both awesome and rough. All the food and eating events were enough to make me feel ill without taking one bite. But being able to tell my family, in person, and not over the phone, was priceless. We gave our family Christmas cards to announce the news:

I had these custom made on Etsy by heathergearhart.

Actually it's July, but I had these made before we found out our official due date. We also added the ultrasound photo to the blank space on the left.
My sister and her husband actually arrived first and knowing that I couldn’t keep the news in for long, we gave them the card in the car after picking them up from the airport. In hindsight, this was a bad idea, because the subsequent screaming and excitement nearly caused Joey to have an accident. We told my mom and her husband later than night and, because my sister already knew, she was able to stealthily film the whole thing without my mom noticing. I will eventually upload that video, but it’s a lot of crying, screaming, laughing (mostly my sister cackling in the background) and “I knew it!” coming from my mom.

Moms always know it.

After the excitement died down and the family left, I luckily had another whole week off work, during which time I nearly exclusively laid on our couch and moaned. I think having nothing to do, while it was a welcome break, actually made the icky feeling worse. But by the time I came back to work on January 3, the symptoms were beginning subside. On January 11 (my 11th week of pregnancy), a switch was flipped and the morning sickness disappeared entirely. The fatigue definitely hit me around this time, but my first trimester experience taught me something about me: I’ll take a 7:30pm bedtime over dry heaving in the shower every morning any day of the week.

That seems like nice visual to leave you with, doesn’t it?